Posted by: audreybenenati | May 10, 2010

Cancer report energizes activists, not policy


Cancer experts say for the most part that we already know what causes most cases of cancer and it’s not pollution or chemicals lurking in our water bottles. It’s tobacco use and other unhealthy behaviors, says Dr. Graham Colditz of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

“The lack of physical activity, weight gain, obesity clearly account for 20 percent or more of cancer in the United States today,” Colditz said in a telephone interview.

The report, he said, gives people an excuse to ignore the risk factors most in their control.

“The damage is that it distracts us, as a society, from actually acting on the things that are already in our grasp. I can take tobacco as the best example,” said Colditz, noting that more than 20 percent of Americans still smoke despite nearly 50 years of cancer warnings.

And no state has even come close to banning smoking, although limits are going into place to restrict smoking in public.

“We know that alcohol causes 4 percent (of cancers) and we deal with that to too little extent, as well,” said Colditz, an expert in the epidemiology of cancer. Red meat is a known cause of colon cancer, he adds. “We don’t run out and ban all beef just because beef is a cause of colon cancer.”

Read the rest at http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64827I20100510

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